Sage Grouse Conservation: Something to Strut About

Sage Grouse Conservation:  Something to Strut About

sage grouse

Southwest Colorado is passionate about conserving the sage grouse.  The…what?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too when I first heard about the effort.  I had never heard of the sage grouse and could not imagine what was so important about preserving them…whatever they were.

The sage grouse is bird of North America.  It mostly lives in the western United States area stretching from Canada to California.  They love to be in areas with sage brush, thus their name.  They also like basin areas.

The fully grown grouse have pointy long tails and their feathers go all the way down to their toes.  Males dawn a yellow eye patch and a white breast with a gray top, throat of brow and black on their belly.  They gets two yellow sacs upon their neck area when they are wanting to mate.  The females are light brown on their throat, have bellies that are dark in color and are a mottled brownish-gray.

The grouse like to eat sage and insects too.  They like to stay pretty close to home and become permanent residents.  They can be amazing creatures to watch with their strutting and other amazing behaviors.  But they are in grave danger of going away forever.

The areas they live in are being changed due to grown in areas and industrial growth.  They also have many predators.  It has been recorded that development of energy and residential building is responsible for much of the sage grouse decline.  Hunting is another reason that the grouse is in trouble.  Strict restrictions are in place now in many areas that the grouse calls home.  It has gone from 16 million down to somewhere between 500,000 and 200,000 in just 100 years.  With that kind of statistics, the bird will not be with us much longer.

While the grouse is not on the endangered species list yet, it is up for it and already, in the areas the bird frequents, it has made the sensitive list.  There are measures underway to try to save the bird from extinction such as protecting certain areas.

Southwest Colorado has a species of grouse known as the Gunnison sage grouse.  The area holds the Gunnison and the traditional sage grouse dear to their hearts and activists are taking great measures to keep the bird around.  There are lands that are protective of the grouse that don’t even allow dogs onto them for fear the dogs will eat the birds.  While some argue that the protective measures are too extreme, sage grouse activists worry that the regulations they have in place are not near enough to save the endangered bird.

Funds have been set up and groups and individuals alike have plans in motion to rescue the grouse from the fate of demise.  Also in Colorado, the Department of Parks and Wildlife orchestrated a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances in 2006.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined in the act as well and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is doing what they can in the crisis too.  Many individual private land owners have taken interest as well.

Because of the efforts of many, the future of the sage grouse is looking more positive in areas of concern such as in Southwest Colorado.  Now that gives the grouse something great to strut about.

Elephants: When Is Enough Enough?

Can you imagine living in a world without elephants?  Can you fathom hearing tales of elephants like we do about dinosaurs?  “Years ago, when elephants walked the earth…”  It sounds crazy but it very well could come to pass.

There are two main types of elephants in the world today.  One is the African elephant and the other is the Asian Elephant, or Indian Elephants.  Although all elephants are in trouble, the Asian Elephant is the one to worry about, first at least.  It is so near extinction, it’s not funny.

So what’s the reason behind the uncertain fate of elephants?  Ivory.  Ivory hunters are killing elephants so fast and furiously, they are close to wiping out the largest of mammals on the planet.  In the past sixty to seventy years, the population of elephants has met a steady decline.  There are under 50,000 elephants living in the wild now and only about 15,000 in captivity within the zoo or controlled environments.

It is estimated that around 700,000 elephants met their demise by the hands of poachers in the 1980’s alone.  Not only are the ivory hunters killing off the elephants, the demolishing of the forest and other non-conducive environmental actions are acts that are quickly having a devastating effect on elephants across the globe.

The statistics are staggering.  As populations grow and industry does as well and as ivory hunters and poachers continue their reckless kills, the elephants grow closer to being a thing of the past, a memory like the dinosaur.

There are actually a number of species of elephants that are extinct.  They were bigger than the elephants we have around today.  These elephants were located in most every country, aside from Australia.

Elephants are majestic animals.  They have huge ears which flap to control the temperature within their body and possibly to keep flies and other insects away.  They have tusks which can be weapons or tools and can grow very long and strong.  Their legs are huge, like pillars and can hold extreme weight.  They have long trunks that they use for multiple purposes as well.  Male elephants can weight in at 15,000 pounds at maturity.  They can reach13 feet high.

Elephants aren’t just awesome to behold, studies have proven that they have many likenesses to man.  They are mammals.  They obviously have emotions and can be quite smart as well with intelligence levels being very remarkable.   They can form bonds with humans too, just like out pets do.

There have been a number of great books written about elephants and movies too.  One of the most well-known is the Disney movie, “Dumbo”.  Elephants have been worshiped through the years too.  They have also made great team workers for men, moving large objects and assisting in heavy labor.

The time is now to act in order to save the elephants.  We must save them for the elephants’ sake but also for our own sake and for that of our children and their children.  The elephants…must be saved!  We must stop the madness.